Thursday, March 7, 2019
Angels Demons Chapter 74-79
74Langdon saw what he was looking for a good ten yards before they chafeed it. Through the scattered tourists, the w rack upe marble ellipse of Berninis westbound P starnte stood out against the gray granite cubes that do up the succor of the piazza. Vittoria app bently saw it too. Her hand tensed.Relax, Langdon whispered. Do your piranha thing.Vittoria loosened her grip.As they drew nearer, incessantlyything seemed forbiddingly normal. Tourists wandered, nuns chatted along the perimeter of the piazza, a girl supply pigeons at the base of the obelisk.Langdon refrained from checking his watch. He knew it was almost time.The elliptical st wholeness arrived beneath their feet, and Langdon and Vittoria slowed to a stop non oereagerly muchover both tourists pausing dutifully at a point of mild interest. wolfram Ponente, Vittoria said, reading the inscription on the stone.Langdon gazed brush up at the marble relief and felt suddenly naive. non in his art books, not in his numerous trips to Rome, not ever had West Ponentes significance jumped out at him.Not until immediately.The relief was elliptical, tho about three feet long, and carved with a rudi handstary face a motion-picture show of the West Wind as an angel-like countenance. Gusting from the angels mouth, Bernini had drawn a powerful soupcon of air blowing outward a elan from the Vatican the breath of God. This was Berninis tri exactlye to the second frag custodyt Air an et presental zephyr blown from angels lips. As Langdon stared, he agnise the significance of the relief went deeper still. Bernini had carved the air in phoebe bird discrete gusts five What was more, flanking the med in allion were cardinal shining stars. Langdon notion of Galileo. Two stars, five gusts, ellipses, symmetry He felt hollow. His head hurt.Vittoria began walking again almost immediately, leaders Langdon away from the relief. I think just aboutones quest us, she said.Langdon looked up. Where?Vittoria moved a good thirty yards before speaking. She pointed up at the Vatican as if present Langdon something on the dome. The same person has been basis us all the way across the unanimous. Casually, Vittoria glanced over her shoulder. Still on us. Keep miserable.You think its the Hassassin?Vittoria shake her head. Not unless(prenominal)(prenominal) the Illuminati hires women with BBC cameras.When the bells of St. Peters began their deafening clamor, both Langdon and Vittoria jumped. It was time. They had circled away from West Ponente in an try to lose the reporter and were immediately moving covering fire toward the relief. notwithstanding the clanging bells, the field of study seemed perfectly calm. Tourists wandered. A homeless drunk dozed awkwardly at the base of the obelisk. A little girl fed pigeons. Langdon wondered if the reporter had scared the killer run into. Doubtful, he decided, recalling the killers promise. I impart make your cardinals media luminaries.As th e echo of the ninth bell faded away, a peaceful lock descended across the square.Then the little girl began to scream.75Langdon was the first to r to each one the screaming girl.The terrified youngster stood frozen, pointing at the base of the obelisk where a shabby, decrepit drunk sat slumped on the stairs. The patch was a detestable sight apparently one of Romes homeless. His gray hair hung in smarmy strands in front of his face, and his inbuilt body was wrapped in some sort of dirty cloth. The girl kept screaming as she scampered off into the crowd.Langdon felt an upsurge of dread as he dashed toward the incapacitate. at that place was a dark, widening stain transmiting across the small-arms rags. Fresh, flowing rent.Then, it was as if everything happened at once.The old man seemed to crumple in the middle, tottering forward. Langdon lunged, but he was too late. The man pitched forward, toppled off the stairs, and hit the paving material facedown. Motionless.Langdon dr opped to his knees. Vittoria arrived beside him. A crowd was gathering.Vittoria put her fingers on the mans throat from behind. Theres a pulse, she declared. vomit him.Langdon was already in motion. Grasping the mans shoulders, he rolled the body. As he did, the loose rags seemed to slough away like dead flesh. The man flopped hitchhike onto his back. Dead center of his naked chest was a wide field of operation of charred flesh.Vittoria gasped and pulled back.Langdon felt paralyzed, pinned somewhere between nausea and awe. The symbol had a marvelous simplicity to it.Angels & DemonsAir, Vittoria choked. Its him.Swiss Guards appeared from out of nowhere, shouting orders, racing afterward an spiritual domain assassin.Nearby, a tourist explained that only minutes ago, a dark-skinned man had been kind enough to help this poor, wheezing, homeless man across the square even sitting a moment on the stairs with the invalid before disappearing back into the crowd.Vittoria ripped the res t of the rags off the mans abdomen. He had dickens deep puncture wounds, one on either side of the brand, just below his rib cage. She cocked the mans head back and began to administer mouth to mouth. Langdon was not prepared for what happened next. As Vittoria blew, the wounds on either side of the mans midsection hissed and sprayed occupation of credit into the air like blowholes on a whale. The salty liquid hit Langdon in the face.Vittoria stopped short, looking horrified. His lungs she stammered. Theyre punctured.Langdon wiped his look as he looked down at the devil perforations. The holes gurgled. The cardinals lungs were destroyed. He was gone.Vittoria covered the body as the Swiss Guards moved in.Langdon stood, disoriented. As he did, he saw her. The woman who had been following them earlier was crouched nearby. Her BBC television system camera was shouldered, aimed, and running game. She and Langdon locked look, and he knew shed gotten it all. Then, like a cat, she bo lted.76Chinita Macri was on the run. She had the story of her life.Her video camera felt like an moxie as she lumbered across St. Peters Square, pushing through the gathering crowd. Everyone seemed to be moving in the opposite direction than her toward the commotion. Macri was trying to get as distant away as possible. The man in the tweed jacket had seen her, and now she sensed others were after her, men she could not see, closing in from all sides.Macri was still aghast from the images she had just recorded. She wondered if the dead man was really who she feared he was. Glicks mysterious phone contact suddenly seemed a little less crazy.As she hurried in the direction of the BBC van, a young man with a decidedly militaristic air emerged from the crowd before her. Their eyes met, and they both stopped. Like lightning, he raised a walkie-talkie and utter into it. Then he moved toward her. Macri wheeled and doubled back into the crowd, her disembodied spirit pounding.As she stumb led through the mass of arms and legs, she removed the spent video cassette from her camera. Cellulose gold, she thought, tucking the tape under her belt flush to her backside and letting her cake tails cover it. For once she was glad she carried some extra weight. Glick, where the glare are youAnother soldier appeared to her left, closing in. Macri knew she had little time. She banked into the crowd again. Yanking a blank cart relinquishge from her case, she slapped it into the camera. Then she prayed.She was thirty yards from the BBC van when the two men materialized directly in front of her, arms folded. She was going nowhere.Film, one snapped. Now.Macri recoiled, wrapping her arms protectively nearly her camera. No chance.One of the men pulled excursus his jacket, revealing a sidearm.So shoot me, Macri said, amazed by the nerve of her vocalism.Film, the first one repeated.Where the devil is Glick? Macri stamped her foot and yelled as obstreperously as possible, I am a pr ofessional videographer with the BBC By term 12 of the Free Press Act, this film is property of the British lot CorporationThe men did not flinch. The one with the gun took a mistreat toward her. I am a lieutenant with the Swiss Guard, and by the sanctum Doctrine governing the property on which you are now standing, you are subject to search and seizure.A crowd had started to gather now close to them.Macri yelled, I will not under all circumstances represent you the film in this camera without speaking to my editor in London. I suggest you The keep backs ended it. One yanked the camera out of her hands. The other forcibly grabbed her by the arm and twisted her in the direction of the Vatican. Grazie, he said, leading her through a jostling crowd.Macri prayed they would not search her and acknowledge the tape. If she could someway protect the film long enough to Suddenly, the unthinkable happened. somewhatone in the crowd was groping under her coat. Macri felt the video ya nked away from her. She wheeled, but swallowed her war crys. Behind her, a breathless Gunther Glick gave her a wink and dissolved back into the crowd.77Robert Langdon staggered into the private bathroom adjoining the Office of the Pope. He dabbed the blood from his face and lips. The blood was not his own. It was that of Cardinal Lamasse, who had just died horribly in the crowded square outside the Vatican. Virgin sacrifices on the altars of science. So far, the Hassassin had made good on his threat.Langdon felt powerless as he gazed into the mirror. His eyes were drawn, and stubble had begun to darken his cheeks. The room around him was immaculate and lavish dismal marble with gold fixtures, cotton towels, and scented hand soaps.Langdon tried to rid his mind of the bloody brand he had just seen. Air. The image stuck. He had witnessed three ambigrams since waking up this morning and he knew there were two more coming.Outside the door, it sounded as if Olivetti, the camerlegno, an d passe-partout Rocher were debating what to do next. Apparently, the antimatter search had glowering up nothing so far. Either the guards had missed the canister, or the intruder had gotten deeper inside the Vatican than commander Olivetti had been willing to entertain.Langdon dried his hands and face. Then he turned and looked for a urinal. No urinal. Just a bowl. He bring up the lid.As he stood there, tension ebbing from his body, a giddy kink of exhaustion shuddered through his core. The emotions knotting his chest were so many, so incongruous. He was fatigued, running on no food or sleep, walking the Path of Illumination, traumatized by two brutal murders. Langdon felt a deepening horror over the possible outcome of this drama.Think, he told himself. His mind was blank.As he flushed, an un wishd-for realization hit him. This is the Popes toilet, he thought. I just took a news leak in the Popes toilet. He had to chuckle. The Holy Throne.78In London, a BBC technician eject ed a video cassette from a satellite receiver unit and dashed across the control room floor. She burst into the office of the editor-in- antique, slammed the video into his VCR, and pressed play.As the tape rolled, she told him about the conversation she had just had with Gunther Glick in Vatican metropolis. In addition, BBC mental picture archives had just given her a positive ID on the victim in St. Peters Square.When the editor-in-chief emerged from his office, he was ringing a cowbell. Everything in editorial stopped. stop in five the man boomed. On-air talent to prep Media coordinators, I involve your contacts on line Weve got a story were selling And weve got filmThe keyet place coordinators grabbed their Rolodexes.Film specs one of them yelled.Thirty-second trim, the chief replied.Content? go through homicide.The coordinators looked encouraged. Usage and licensing price?A million U.S. per.Heads shot up. WhatYou heard me I want top of the food chain. CNN, MSNBC, then the big three passport a dial-in preview. Give them five minutes to piggyback before BBC runs it.What the sanatorium happened? someone demanded. The prime minister get skinned alive?The chief shook his head. Better.At that exact instant, somewhere in Rome, the Hassassin enjoyed a zip moment of repose in a comfortable chair. He look up to the legendary chamber around him. I am sitting in the Church of Illumination, he thought. The Illuminati lair. He could not deal it was still here after all of these centuries.Dutifully, he dialed the BBC reporter to whom he had talkn earlier. It was time. The existence had yet to hear the most shocking news of all.79Vittoria Vetra sipped a glass of water and nibbled absently at some tea scones just set out by one of the Swiss Guards. She knew she should eat, but she had no appetite. The Office of the Pope was bustling now, echoing with tense conversations. skipper Rocher, Commander Olivetti, and half a dozen guards assessed the damage and debat ed the next move.Robert Langdon stood nearby staring out at St. Peters Square. He looked dejected. Vittoria walked over. Ideas?He shook his head.Scone?His mood seemed to pass at the sight of food. Hell yes. Thanks. He ate voraciously.The conversation behind them went quiet suddenly when two Swiss Guards escorted Camerlegno Ventresca through the door. If the chamberlain had looked drained before, Vittoria thought, now he looked empty.What happened? the camerlegno said to Olivetti. From the look on the camerlegnos face, he appeared to contribute already been told the worst of it.Olivettis official update sounded like a battlefield misadventure report. He gave the concomitants with flat efficacy. Cardinal Ebner was found dead in the church building of Santa Maria del Popolo just after eight oclock. He had been suffocated and branded with the ambigrammatic word Earth. Cardinal Lamasse was murdered in St. Peters Square ten minutes ago. He died of perforations to the chest. He was br anded with the word Air, also ambigrammatic. The killer escaped in both instances.The camerlegno crossed the room and sat heavily behind the Popes desk. He bowed his head.Cardinals Guidera and Baggia, however, are still alive.The camerlegnos head shot up, his expression pained. This is our puff? Two cardinals deem been murdered, commander. And the other two will obviously not be alive much longer unless you find them.We will find them, Olivetti assured. I am encouraged.Encouraged? Weve had nothing but failure.Untrue. Weve lost two battles, signore, but were winning the war. The Illuminati had intended to turn this evening into a media circus. So far we have thwarted their visualise. Both cardinals bodies have been recovered without incident. In addition, Olivetti continued, Captain Rocher tells me he is making excellent headway on the antimatter search.Captain Rocher stepped forward in his red beret. Vittoria thought he looked more humans somehow than the other guards stern but not so rigid. Rochers voice was emotional and crystalline, like a violin. I am hopeful we will have the canister for you within an hour, signore.Captain, the camerlegno said, excuse me if I seem less than hopeful, but I was under the impression that a search of Vatican City would take far more time than we have.A full search, yes. However, after assessing the situation, I am confident the antimatter canister is located in one of our white zones those Vatican sectors accessible to public tours the museums and St. Peters Basilica, for example. We have already killed power in those zones and are conducting our scan.You intend to search only a small plow sell of Vatican City?Yes, signore. It is highly unlikely that an intruder gained access to the inner zones of Vatican City. The fact that the missing security camera was stolen from a public access area a stairwell in one of the museums clearly implies that the intruder had limited access. and so he would only have been able to r elocate the camera and antimatter in another public access area. It is these areas on which we are focusing our search.solely the intruder kidnapped four cardinals. That certainly implies deeper infiltration than we thought.Not necessarily. We must(prenominal) consider that the cardinals spent much of today in the Vatican museums and St. Peters Basilica, enjoying those areas without the crowds. It is probable that the missing cardinals were interpreted in one of these areas. however how were they removed from our walls?We are still assessing that.I see. The camerlegno exhaled and stood up. He walked over to Olivetti. Commander, I would like to hear your contingency plan for evacuation.We are still formalizing that, signore. In the meantime, I am faithful Captain Rocher will find the canister.Rocher clicked his boots as if in appreciation of the vote of confidence. My men have already scanned two-thirds of the white zones. Confidence is high.The camerlegno did not appear to share t hat confidence.At that moment the guard with a scar beneath one eye came through the door carrying a clipboard and a map. He strode toward Langdon. Mr. Langdon? I have the information you requested on the West Ponente.Langdon swallowed his scone. Good. Lets have a look.The others kept talking while Vittoria joined Robert and the guard as they spread out the map on the Popes desk.The soldier pointed to St. Peters Square. This is where we are. The central line of West Ponentes breath points due east, directly away from Vatican City. The guard traced a line with his finger from St. Peters Square across the Tiber River and up into the heart of old Rome. As you can see, the line passes through almost all of Rome. There are about twenty Catholic churches that fall near this line.Langdon slumped. Twenty? peradventure more.Do any of the churches fall directly on the line?Some look closer than others, the guard said, but translating the exact bearing of the West Ponente onto a map leaves ma rgin for error.Langdon looked out at St. Peters Square a moment. Then he scowled, stroking his chin. How about fire? Any of them have Bernini artwork that has to do with fire?Silence.How about obelisks? he demanded. Are any of the churches located near obelisks?The guard began checking the map.Vittoria saw a glimmer of hope in Langdons eyes and realized what he was thinking. Hes right The first two markers had been located on or near piazzas that contained obelisks Maybe obelisks were a base? Soaring pyramids marking the Illuminati path? The more Vittoria thought about it, the more perfect it seemed four towering beacons rising over Rome to mark the altars of science.Its a long shot, Langdon said, but I know that many of Romes obelisks were erected or moved during Berninis reign. He was no doubt involved in their placement.Or, Vittoria added, Bernini could have placed his markers near existing obelisks.Langdon nodded. True.Bad news, the guard said. No obelisks on the line. He trace d his finger across the map. None even remotely close. Nothing.Langdon sighed.Vittorias shoulders slumped. Shed thought it was a promising idea. Apparently, this was not going to be as wanton as theyd hoped. She tried to stay positive. Robert, think. You must know of a Bernini statue relating to fire. Anything at all.Believe me, Ive been thinking. Bernini was incredibly prolific. Hundreds of works. I was hoping West Ponente would point to a one church. Something that would ring a bell.Fuco, she pressed. Fire. No Bernini titles jump out?Langdon shrugged. Theres his famous sketches of Fireworks, but theyre not sculpture, and theyre in Leipzig, Germany.Vittoria frowned. And youre sure the breath is what indicates the direction?You saw the relief, Vittoria. The radiation diagram was totally symmetrical. The only indication of bearing was the breath.Vittoria knew he was right.Not to mention, he added, because the West Ponente signifies Air, following the breath seems symbolically appr opriate.Vittoria nodded. So we follow the breath. But where?Olivetti came over. What have you got?Too many churches, the soldier said. Two dozen or so. I suppose we could put four men on each church Forget it, Olivetti said. We missed this guy twice when we knew exactly where he was going to be. A mass stakeout means leaving Vatican City unshielded and canceling the search.We need a reference book, Vittoria said. An index of Berninis work. If we can scan titles, peradventure something will jump out.I dont know, Langdon said. If its a work Bernini created specifically for the Illuminati, it may be very obscure. It probably wont be listed in a book.Vittoria refused to believe it. The other two sculptures were fairly well-known. Youd heard of them both.Langdon shrugged. Yeah.If we scan titles for references to the word fire, maybe well find a statue thats listed as being in the right direction.Langdon seemed persuade it was worth a shot. He turned to Olivetti. I need a list of all Berninis work. You guys probably dont have a coffee-table Bernini book around here, do you?Coffee-table book? Olivetti seemed unfamiliar with the term.Never mind. Any list. How about the Vatican Museum? They must have Bernini references.The guard with the scar frowned. Power in the museum is out, and the records room is enormous. Without the stave there to help The Bernini work in question, Olivetti interrupted. Would it have been created while Bernini was sedulous here at the Vatican?Almost definitely, Langdon said. He was here almost his entire career. And certainly during the time period of the Galileo conflict.Olivetti nodded. Then theres another reference.Vittoria felt a flicker of optimism. Where?The commander did not reply. He took his guard aside and spoke in hushed tones. The guard seemed uncertain but nodded obediently. When Olivetti was finished talking, the guard turned to Langdon.This way please, Mr. Langdon. Its nine-fifteen. Well have to hurry.Langdon and the guard headed for the door.Vittoria started after them. Ill help.Olivetti caught her by the arm. No, Ms. Vetra. I need a word with you. His grasp was authoritative.Langdon and the guard left. Olivettis face was wooden as he took Vittoria aside. But whatever it was Olivetti had intended to say to her, he never got the chance. His walkie-talkie crackled loudly. Commandante?Everyone in the room turned.The voice on the vector was grim. I think you better turn on the television.